Not just any bookmark will do

I know I’m not the only one who has bookmark preferences and proclivities. Mine have certainly evolved over the years. From where are sit today, these are my general rules.

  1. They must by paper
  2. They must have no metal, fabric, string, yarn, or any other 3D embellishment
  3. The thinner the paper the better–without being too thin
  4. Shorter is better
  5. Free is better
  6. I prefer location-specific bookmarks that remind me of a place or bookshop I’ve been to
  7. I like finding ones that someone else has used, rather than using brand new one
These are essentially my favorite bookmarks these days. Shorter, thinner, free, and evocative of a trip somewhere.
These Persephone bookmarks match the end papers of each of the Persephone books I have. While I think they are nicely done, they are not really my cup of tea. Too big and thick for my tastes. I will keep them because they go with the books, but I don’t use them.
Monhegan Island has one of the cutest libraries on the planet and they always have great artists who specially design their bookmarks.
Some of my favorite book marks are bits and bobs. Some of these are post cards, one is some sort of Dutch order form and one is a coffee-stained notice that Dr. Charity of Helperby House in Helperby, York had his power cut off for two hours on the morning of 30 November 1971.
And speaking of bits and bobs, I love this old business card I found in an Ambler novel. I particularly like that it is a travel “bureau” not agency. And on Nantucket no less.
There are two main places I need bookmarks: in the library and in bed. Thankfully I have duplicates of these 5 favorite bookmarks so I can have a supply in both locations.
I picked these up in 2009 at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon. They are on the big and thick side so I don’t use them for bookmarks, but I do keep track of what I read off of them.
When ugly bookmarks happen to good bookshops. Both of these great shops could step up their games.


And for a clearer look at how size matters when it comes to bookmarks, check out this video.

13 thoughts on “Not just any bookmark will do

  1. travellinpenguin December 17, 2017 / 2:19 pm

    Nice selection. I try to keep a bookmark in every book I own. When I pull book off shelf I then have a surprise in it I haven’t seen in awhile. I also cut the front off greeting cards that I particularly like or use postcards.


  2. Kim Shedd December 17, 2017 / 8:31 pm

    I buy a lot of used books. I found a wonderful Polaroid photo of a circa 1960s young couple in an Erma Bombeck book, which I bought for it’s title (When You Look Like your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home). Another fun surprise was a glossy bookmark with a map of the Benedictine Abbey in Melk, in Austria. Initially I thought, “what a pretty bookmark” and then, “wait a minute, I’ve BEEN there!” I’m intrigued by this web site and the books it advertises


  3. Laura C December 17, 2017 / 9:15 pm

    It’s funny, my few Persephone bookmarks are ALL that I use. They are the right size and thickness and I try to choose one that fits closest to the atmosphere of the book that I am reading. I have purchased a couple used Persephones with no bookmark attached anymore and was very disappointed.I have about six to choose from and it is so funny how much pleasure they give me.


  4. Patience December 18, 2017 / 6:31 am

    I am in awe of your collection of Persephone Books bookmarks. I don’t have nearly that many. I used to love using paint chips as book marks, especially the longer ones that have multiple hues on them. The Paper Source wall calendar that I buy every year has bookmark templates marked on the backs of the pages, so ever January, I cut out a new supply of bookmarks for the year.


  5. Michelle December 18, 2017 / 7:01 am

    I use leather bookmarks embossed with country houses or landmarks on them.Must have a fringed edge at the bottom.Or i may use postcard from museums or art galleries.


  6. Ruthiella December 21, 2017 / 1:07 pm

    Love this post! I recently found a Borders bookmark in a book of mine and I almost don’t want to use it lest it get worn out, it is all I have left from that store which I loved (not a B&N fan).


    • Dottiemi January 9, 2018 / 5:35 pm

      I’m still reeling from the demise of Borders, joined my first book group there!


  7. Gubbinal December 25, 2017 / 5:26 pm

    I love this entry! I have similar tastes as you do. I don’t mind the Persephone bookmarks, however. I’ve had some of the thinner bookmarks give up the ghost and it always feels like the loss of a friendship.


  8. Annabel (gaskella) January 1, 2018 / 6:25 am

    What a wonderful post. I love bookmarks too – I share your preference for card with no frilly bits.


  9. Simon T January 2, 2018 / 7:44 am

    I love when other people have bookmark rules! Normal people think it’s odd. I don’t use bookmark-shaped bookmarks – I used art postcards, and have a pile by my bed; when i started a new book, I make sure the postcard matches the book (whether in colour or period or theme).


    • Thomas January 17, 2018 / 12:21 pm

      I sometimes use postcards but I either worry about damaging the postcard or they are two thick.


  10. Geoff W January 16, 2018 / 12:39 pm

    I love these! I pretty much use my business cards or receipts as bookmarks. I’m too lazy to find anything else and they’re interchangeable/disposable. I do usually keep a transit ticket or something in a book if I buy it elsewhere to remind me where I got it from.


    • Thomas January 17, 2018 / 12:20 pm

      I will sometimes use a business card but only if it is fun like that travel bureau card I showed in the post. If I used one related to the real world it would depress me. Boarding passes are one of my favorite non-bookmark bookmarks.

      Liked by 1 person

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